palmOne Open to Using Other Operating Systems

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The head of palmOne in Europe made headlines in January by saying his company is open to the idea of making devices with other operating systems besides the Palm OS. This week, the CEO of palmOne backed this statement up.

For many years, Palm Inc. was both the top seller of Palm OS handhelds and the company that licensed the operating system to other manufacturers. Last fall, it split into two companies: palmOne, which makes handhelds, and PalmSource, which licenses the Palm OS.

Earlier this week, Todd Bradley, President and CEO of palmOne, was asked during a conference call whether his company is considering releasing a version of its Treo 600 smart phone running the Pocket PC operating system, now that it has separated from PalmSource.

Mr. Bradley responded by saying, “One of the drivers to the separation was so that each company could optimize their products for their specific customers. That being said, we haven’t announced any Microsoft-based products but there’s nothing that would preclude us from building one, Microsoft, Symbian, Linux, anything.”

According to Marlene Somsak, palmOne’s head of corporate communications, Mr. Bradley’s statement doesn’t indicate any kind of change in position for the company. As she says, palmOne has always concentrated on making products that consumers want, and it has always considered other operating systems. However, in its judgment the best operating system has always been the Palm OS.

Ms. Somsak said, “Palm OS has met our needs nicely, is growing and developing and has a lot of headroom. It’s sleek and powerful, and it’s the most customer-focused OS available today. We’re not going to speculate on any future product features, as is our usual policy.”

However, a Microsoft spokesperson said her company is quite willing to talk to palmOne, should it become interested in licensing Windows Mobile.

A complete recording of Mr. Bradley’s comments is available on the palmOne web site.

Thanks to Pocket PC Thoughts for the tip.

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